Sunday, January 22, 2012

Another letter from Hawaii

Today's letter from Maj. Gillham is unique in that he writes it on the back of some old Army laundry lists.  As he explains, he could find no other writing paper.  I have scanned one of the sheets and added it below:  you can even see his writing on the back through the paper. 

Ft. Shafter, T.H.
22 May 46

Dearest Lovely,

I can't find any writing paper at the moment, but I am not going to let that stop me from telling you that I love you.

Last night we went by Pearl Harbor and our ship was gone.  We were worried for a while but finally found her over at a dock where she had been moved.  She is being turned over to a new Captain here, and we met him when we went aboard.  She will probably not sail until the 24th, so we will have an extra day ashore.

The nicest thing on the ship last night was a letter from you.  It was was the one that was returned for more postage.  I guess that was because the address didn't have an APO or Fleet P.M. on it.  The amount of postage they required still doesn't make sense.  Anyway, it got here and I was surely glad to hear from you. I am sorry Martha had to have the measles.  I hope she will get her strength back before hot weather.  You and the children seem engaged in a lot of educational and cultural activities.  I am glad you have the opportunity.  I know I missed several of your letters when leaving Japan.  I didn't have them forwarded here because I didn't know where I was going.  I infer from your last letter that you received the binoculars and the china.  I also sent two long boxes of swords, etc., and a big wooden box of clothes and souvenirs that I mailed the day I left.  I think that is all that is en route now, except me.

It looks like I will get to Boston about 21 June.  Of course, both the port and date may be changed, but I had hoped that we could get together for a big celebration on 23 June.  I don't know what I will run into when I hit the states, whether I will be allowed to travel independently or not, nor whether I can get any delay en route Ft. McPherson or not.  But if at all possible I want us to have a grand reunion on the 23rd.  If you will stand by to received a telephone call starting on 20 June and be prepared to jump in any direction on short notice, maybe we can work it somehow.  You might be able to meet me half way somewhere like Charlottesville.  Don't be too disappointed if we can't work it, but we can try.  I was told at least 20 times that I couldn't go on the Alcor, and when we got here we were told on every hand that there was no transportation available, but we have had a sedan at our disposal nearly ever since we arrived.

Yesterday morning we spent in the Bishop Museum.  It was most interesting and a very well-arranged museum from the technical standpoint, too.  It was good that we knew what we were looking for or else we never would have found it.  In the afternoon a major who has been here about two years took us all around to points of interest.  We went up to the Kamehameha School where we got a beautiful mountain top view of Honolulu and Pearl Harbor.  We went to the University of Hawaii, to Diamond Head, over the Pali (some place and some wind) and back to Schofield Barracks for dinner at the officers club.

I mailed you a roll of unexposed color movie film that I was able to get at the PX for $3.25.  I am bringing anything else I get with me.  I will try to get you the sweater and other things in Panama.

It is certainly going to be lovely to see you again, my darling.  I love you.



Here is one of the laundry lists he wrote this letter on.  Remember to right-click on it and select View Link in New Window, for a close-up look.

The Bishop Museum is now called the State Museum of Natural and Cultural History, located in Honolulu.  It was founded in 1889 by Charles Reed Bishop, a philanthropist who named the museum after his wife, Bernice Pauahi Bishop, the last heir of the Hawaiian royal family, which was deposed in 1872.  The museum houses the world's largest collection of Hawaiian and Polynesian artifacts.

The main entrance to the Bishop Museum today.

Charles Reed also founded the Kamehameha School that Maj. Gillham visited, which is located in the same neighborhood.  The school was set up in 1883 by his wife, Bernice, as two schools:  one for boys and one for girls, with the stipulation that they admit only those of full or partial aboriginal Hawaiian blood.